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Event & Action Planning

Back to the Skills Toolbox

Event Planning Your Rights to Demonstrate and Protest
Event Planning Tips Non-Citizen Rights
Direct Action Publicity

Event Planning
By SEAC (available here in pdf)

Organizing an event on your campus or in your community can be a great way to build morale within your group, build your campaign, and let the rest of the world know what your group is up to.

Event Planning Nuts & Bolts
Decide what you want to do. Dream up and brainstorm an event that will benefit your group and will impact a target audience (small or large) effectively. You can do this at a group meeting, individually, or brainstorm during a class. Remember you can always change and improve your initial ideas!

Run the idea by the group. See what they think of the idea; see if they have the energy, financial resources, and willpower to put on the event. If they don’t you can always work with other groups to make your vision a reality. If possible try to develop a goal at this point: Raise Awareness, Promote Something, Have Fun, or whatever.

Figure out if you want to include other groups (campus organizations, community organizations, local government, or whomever) and see what resources (volunteer time, financial resources, etc) they can offer. Remember that sometimes less is better.

Set a place and time. When you do this be realistic. Do you want to make it a small deal or a grand event? You can use previous events to gauge size and audience. Give yourself some time to let things fall into place. For most small events a month is probably enough time, while the bigger events you should plan far ahead! No matter how far ahead you plan, it will come faster than you think it will. Check to see if the location is available (make sure no one else has the facility reserved, make sure it can accommodate the crowd, and make sure it is accessible to your target audience). If you have a speaker or performer make sure that the time and place works for them. Check to make sure that the performer has everything he/she needs to be able to perform at the event.

After you have the time, location and idea in place you’re really trucking. That is usually the hardest part of the whole process. Now you need to publicize. Publicity can be tricky; you need to really think about who the target audience is. Do you want this open to the general public, college students only, or a more specific audience?

Verify everything at this point. Make sure you have filled out any necessary paperwork; make sure you confirm the facility and special arrangements (i.e. special chair set-up, table set-up, etc). If you verify the details before you publicize you won’t have to worry about changing anything at the last minute. Make sure all co-sponsors are aware of the time, location and the need for volunteers if necessary. Remember each event is special and may require special attention.

See if you want to do any last minute adjustments. Some ideas include collecting money for a related charity, having educational PowerPoint slides prior to the event, having a sign-up sheet for interested people, etc. Sometimes the event motivates people to take action and you’ll want to be ready with suggestions for how folks can get involved. This is also a good time to talk with your group to determine what else is on your agenda for the coming weeks/months. If you’re going to be having another big event some time soon, the event you’re planning now would probably be a good place to publicize that; so make sure to have the date and location figured out in advance so that you can make up a flier or give an announcement about the upcoming event.

Events usually flop for preventable reasons

Have back-up plans. No matter how good you may be at planning an event be prepared for the worst. If you expect and prepare for the worst you’ll be ready for anything! Ideas include having extra volunteers on hand, having a rain site available if your event is supposed to take place outdoors, and having tape, scissors and everything you might possibly need ready just in case. You may not need these things but it’s easier to carry some extra supplies than have your event flop for a preventable reason.

Set-up directional signs if your event is in an odd location. Yard signs and posters help direct people to your event. Also you might catch people walking by that are interested in your issue/goal.

Make sure you have volunteers show up early to help out with last minute set-ups, and anything else that might come up. Volunteers make the world go round when the event organizers are busy.

Have the event. This is the best part of the entire process. You’ll enjoy the event so much more since you’ll know how much effort went into putting it on!

Clean-up time. Hopefully your event was a success. Now clean up so your group can continue having events in the same location in the future. It’s not only your responsibility but also a nice gesture.

Use the energy and success from this event to do other projects and endeavors. Follow up with the people who expressed interest in being involved in your group. Thank the people who volunteered to make the event a success (so that they’ll want to volunteer more in the future), and celebrate your success with the co-organizers and volunteers.

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Event Planning Tips

..........• Make a timeline for your event. If you do this far in advance you can keep up with all the big and little dates to verify contacts, verify spaces, notify press, etc. Without a timeline you may forget some important last minute details.
..........• DELEGATE responsibilities. You cannot put on a big event by yourself, you silly goose! You need the help of as many volunteers as possible to make the event a success. Delegating does not mean bossing people around, but getting volunteers to do things that you won’t have time to do. By delegating you will get more input and more creativity in your event, and more people will feel invested in making the event a success.
..........• Make sure you have support from your group. The more people who are interested and have input the better the event will be.
..........• If you’re doing anything special, notify the building director. You don’t want to have your event shut down due to fire or health regulations that you weren’t aware of.
..........• Get to the location of the event early. If you cannot get there early make sure someone who knows what is going on is there early. The earlier the better - you can always read a book while you wait on volunteers and participants to arrive.
..........• Ask the building director for access time before and after the event. The access time will allow for set-up and take-down of the event.
..........• Use all the resources possible from outside parties to make your event happen. Often there are community groups that will donate their time and money to help your causes. Student government will usually be willing to financially support events open to the student body, although with some restrictions. Just remember most groups’ financial resources are limited.
..........• Think about having fundraisers prior to your event to help fund and promote it. Bake sales with flyers are a great way to get people interested in your event. (The best part is you make money too.) Sometimes handing out freebies such as candy with flyers will get people interested too. Remember to fill out the appropriate forms if you are raising money on campus.
..........• Remember that you want to reach a target audience. Cater to their needs. If you think refreshments will get a few more people it may be worth it. Sometimes professors will give extra credit if their students attend an event. Local schools and community centers are often a great place to publicize your event.
..........• You will not master the art of putting on an event the first time. It often takes trial and error to pull off the best event possible. Take notes based on your experiences and pass those on to the other people in your group; this will make your group stronger with time and prevent people from having to make the same mistakes that you did.
..........• Hope for the best and expect the worst and you’ll probably have a successful event.

Event? THIS is an event!

Beyond the actual mechanics involved in planning a successful event, there are decidedly less tangible components to success that may play an equally important role. They include:

..........The Audience. Now that you know how large an audience you want, you need to plan enough flyers, newspaper ads and personal contact that you attract the right people in the right numbers. Also be sure that you reserve a room large enough to accommodate your audience, or small enough to make sure your meeting doesn't look like it is poorly attended.
..........Set-up. What you want to accomplish with your event can also determine its set-up. Is your event educational or motivational? For instance, you would never want to set out chairs at a rally - they tend to swallow enthusiasm, which would definitely defeat your purpose.
..........Obstacles. Brainstorm about any possible issues or circumstances that could arise to negatively effect the success of your program or event - think of ways to sidestep these hurdles. Rest assured, if something can go wrong, it will so take a proactive approach. For example, what do you do if it rains on the day of your outdoor event, or what if your speaker is running late?

Though these may seem apparent, they are often lost in the excitement and anxiety that can precede an event.

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Direct Action
An Action Planning Training Manual by the Ruckus Society (available here in pdf)

Direct Action in Context
Nonviolent direct action is often misunderstood and just as often criticized. You may hear it called ineffective, un-American, or illegal. That the effectiveness of direct action can still be debated strains credulity. The success of Gandhi's campaigns in India or the U.S. Civil Rights Movement should have settled the question. Since the beginning of the modern environmental movement, the campaigns against nuclear power, to save ancient forests, to achieve a global ban on high-seas drift net fishing and end ocean dumping all have incorporated significant direct action components. The American experience is teeming with nonviolent direct action. One of the most famous direct actions ever, the Boston Tea Party, is patriotically taught in school. These colonial campaigns were so effective that some argue the "shot heard 'round the world" actually delayed American independence.

Most of the world's democracies have been created by acts of conscience against the state. The final argument - that direct action is illegal - is weakest. It is also illegal to break into a home. But if that home is on fire and you fear someone will be hurt, it is OK - it is in fact your responsibility - to break in. This is the argument of competing harms: A smaller harm is accepted if it prevents a greater harm from occurring.

The Functions of Direct Action
As we discuss the uses of direct action, remember one thing: almost all successful actions occur within the context of an ongoing campaign. This means that political - not only logistical - work has been done before the action. This improves the chances that your action will be understood and successful. This also means you intend to follow up on your action. Intervention demands responsibility. Here are some typical functions of direct action within campaigns:

..........• ANNOUNCEMENT OR ALARM. You have learned of a situation that demands immediate attention from the public. Your direct action is meant to shine a light on a hidden (more likely, covered-up) danger that must not be kept secret.

..........• REINFORCEMENT. You have been campaigning on an issue, yet somehow the issue remains murky to the public. You take action to clearly define the evil or injustice, and the parties responsible.

..........• PUNCTUATION. Direct action can be used to sustain interest in a campaign. It is a dramatic reminder that the problem has not gone away. Direct action can serve as a milepost - the early anti-nuclear movement marked time by Seabrook occupations - or it may commemorate an outrage that should not be forgotten, such as the fifth anniversary of the Exxon Valdez spill, or ten years since Chernobyl.

..........• ESCALATION. A frequent use of direct action is to raise the stakes in an ongoing struggle. If a group of activists who have not previously used direct action turns to it, this sends a message that the situation has become critical and direct action is the last remaining avenue of protest.

..........• MORALE. Sometimes when a group has suffered a setback and morale is low - or a group is tired from a long struggle - direct action can serve to raise the spirits and renew the struggle.

There is no doubt that direct action is a powerful builder of morale and community, but a word of caution. Those of us who have engaged in direct action know its transforming effect. It leads to new discoveries about yourself, changes and intensifies your relationship with your fellow activists, and alters profoundly your notions of power. It is intoxicating. But these personal-growth benefits are not the reason for doing direct action. Your actions should strive to make an objective change in the world - to literally change the course of history. The change you seek is the main course of the action; empowerment, self-awareness and community are dessert.

The Symbolic Nature of Direct Action
All actions have the same goal: to make an objective change in the world.

First, activists use direct action to reduce the issues to symbols. These symbols must be carefully chosen for their utility in illustrating a conflict: an oil company vs. an indigenous community, a government policy vs. the public interest.

Then we work to place these symbols in the public eye, in order to identify the evildoer, detail the wrongdoing and, if possible, point to a more responsible option. Frequently, usually by design, the symbolism and conflict are communicated to the wider public, using the media. This symbolic treatment of the issue is, in fact, at the core of action strategy, and knowing this is key to understanding the tactic. Ultimately the real question is: could this action make an objective change in the world?

The most important, and therefore most difficult, thing about direct action is developing a sense of timing - when to seize a political moment.

The second most important thing is creativity in designing an action, and fortunately that's a bit easier. Most of us are already creative in other areas, and this generally transfers well to direct action - especially when you've got a group of committed, focused activists with which to work and trade ideas.

There are a number of ways to practice creative brainstorming. Find out which one works for your group of activists. The most crucial factor in brainstorming, of course, is openness to new ideas from all quarters - action leaders must be ready to accept an idea that may come from a team member who has a "minor" role, or is not as experienced in actions.

A close second is a commitment to stay at it until you get it right - hours, days or longer. Brainstorm until you're dry, then analyze what you've come up with and wait for your creative well to fill again. Remember that formal indoor meetings are often the hardest place to be creative. Vary the location for your strategy sessions.

Openness to new ideas also includes the ability to see good ideas in other quarters, and appropriate them. You can't copyright an action, so don't be afraid to steal good ideas.

Become a student of the ways other groups or individuals are taking action. Pay special attention to direct actions by other groups, who are doing some of the most creative stuff today. ACT-UP, homeless activists, even Operation Rescue and the Wise Use movement, on the other side of the ideological spectrum, have added to the tactical development of direct action in recent years. Look for and at action as a tactic instead of specific issues.

Finally, remember timing once again. A colleague used to say: "Timing may not be everything, but it's damn close." Action skills such as climbing or inflatable driving are mechanical ones and people usually pick them up relatively quickly. A sense of timing and opportunity is harder to develop. When examining other actions as a source of ideas, always work to understand the timing behind them.

Action Development
Although each action is different and in its course takes on a life of its own, there are a series of more-or-less standard steps to develop one. These steps presume that you are developing your action within the context of an ongoing campaign:

..........1. Issue Identification and Clarification
..........2. Picking the Audience
..........3. Setting the Context
..........4. Scouting
..........5. Performing the action

Issue Identification and Clarification
The public has a brief, shifting attention span and a limited ability to absorb new information. That's why, as an activist, you must keep your campaign and action focused and on message. You must be able to answer three questions: Presuming your overall campaign goals are clear, ask yourself again: Why is an action warranted at this particular point? Does the proposed action have a reasonable chance of benefiting the campaign – of sending a message, moving the debate or raising its profile? What about the political follow-up to the action: Will you be able to exploit the political opportunity your action seeks to create? Many of us recognize that everything is connected. But we can't attempt to campaign on everything at once, because the public won't hear us. You must define the issues as clearly and simply as possible. For instance, your campaign might be against the Forest Service in general. But what are you going to focus on right now? Clearcutting, endangered species, habitat and clean water are all good issues, but you can't make a coherent statement about all of them in one action. So decide which aspect of your campaign you're going to emphasize right now. Then work to make everything about the action - location, banner slogan, even what your activists are wearing - speak to that.

A word about anger: A lot of us have been fighting the Forest Service, or nukes, or whatever, for a long time, and sometimes we build up a fair bit of righteous anger. A little anger can be a good thing. It puts a passion in the work. But seek in your action to go beyond expressing your anger. Let them - and the public - know why you're angry. People sometimes get impatient with this arduous process of issue clarification and message development. But it is an absolute prerequisite to the next steps.

Only with a clear understanding of your campaign and the issue can you pick the target audience, set the context, and scout, plan and execute your direct action.

Picking the Target Audience
Picking the target audience is the next step in your action's development. It flows directly from your understanding of what needs to happen in the campaign at this point. In essence you're saying: "I want my target audience to do this: " Is it the general public, government officials, the mill operators, or the corporate executives you’re trying to affect? Too often you may hear a defiant comrade declare: "I'm sending a message to all of them." Good intentions, but fuzzy politics. Such universal messages are very rare. If you think you're sending a message to "all of them," it often means you haven't thought through your target audience well enough. Each action should reveal what we're against and what we're for. We may be against several things: the mill, the Forest Service, and the corporate suits. But each of these players should be held specifically accountable for their specific actions. Nailing them on the specifics - who did what, and when did they do it - may be harder than issuing a grand indictment, but sends a clearer message. The principle also applies when you're thinking about what segment of the public you're trying to reach.

Setting the Context
Before making decisions about the place of action or other tactical choices we should pause and ask ourselves: Will the action be understood? It's an important consideration.

Actions don't occur in a void. They occur in a particular context, and being sensitive to the context increases the chances that your action will be understood. Do you want to do that hard-hitting action just before Christmas, for example, when folks don't like receiving bad news? As activists we often have a more sophisticated understanding of an issue than the general public. Polls have consistently shown that only about 15 percent of the American public is "interested and informed" on any given issue. This has several consequences for direct action campaigning. First, we have to avoid jargon – specialized language or concepts understood in an industry of a movement, but obscure to the general public. Second, if you want to campaign on these more complicated issues, you must take the time to establish the context before the action. There are many ways to do this.

Releasing a report, holding a press conference or briefing, placing letters to the editor or advertising, can all help to establish context. Third and most important, it's much easier - that is, more understandable to the public - to protest events rather than policy. An example: You might want to send a message that the President's nuclear policy is an ongoing disaster for the planet. In trying to protest these policies keep your eye open for event opportunities - a presidential visit to a nuclear research site, an accident at a government nuclear facility, etc. Finally, for all actions, remember the KISS rule: Keep It Short and Simple. The public has only a limited capacity to absorb new information over the short term.

More Information:
..........The SOA Watch Handbook for Non-Violent Action and Civil Disobedience Training
..........Notes on Nonviolent Action by Randy Schutt
..........Effective Nonviolent Action by Randy Schutt
..........Sit in! A Tactical Analysis by Aaron Kreider

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Your Rights to Demonstrate and Protest
An ACLU guide for demonstrators, marchers, speakers and others who seek to exercise their First Amendment rights (available here in pdf)

General Guidelines

Q. Can my free speech rights be restricted because of what I want to say – even if it’s controversial?
A. No. The First Amendment prohibits restrictions based on the content of speech. However, this does not mean that the Constitution completely protects all types of free speech activity in every circumstance. Police and government officials are allowed to place certain non-discriminatory and narrowly drawn “time, place and manner” restrictions on the exercise of First Amendment rights.

Q. Where can I engage in free speech activity?
A. Generally, all types of expression are constitutionally protected in traditional “public forums” such as streets, sidewalks and parks. In addition, your speech activity may be permitted to take place at other public locations which the government has opened up to similar speech activities, such as the plazas in front of government buildings.

Q. What about free speech activity on private property?
A. The general rule is that free speech activity cannot take place on private property absent the consent of the property owner. However, in California, the courts have recognized an exception for large shopping centers, and have permitted leafleting and petitioning to take place in the public areas of large shopping centers. The shopping center owners, however, are entitled to impose regulations that, for example, limit the number of activists on the property and restrict their activities to designated “free speech areas.” Most large shopping centers have enacted detailed free speech regulations that require obtaining a permit in advance. It is unclear whether the courts will extend this “shopping center exception” to other types of private property, such as the walkways in front of large free-standing stores, such as a Safeway or a Costco.

Q. Do I need a permit before I engage in free speech activity?
A. Not usually. However, certain types of events require permits. Generally, these events are: 1) a march or parade that does not stay on the sidewalk and other events that require blocking traffic or street closures; 2) a large rally requiring the use of sound amplifying devices; or 3) a rally at certain designated parks or plazas, such as federal property managed by the General Services Administration.

Many permit procedures require that the application be filed several weeks in advance of the event. However, the First Amendment prohibits such an advance notice requirement from being used to prevent rallies or demonstrations that are rapid responses to unforeseeable and recent events. Also, many permit ordinances give a lot of discretion to the police or city officials to impose conditions on the event, such as the route of a march or the sound levels of amplification equipment. Such restrictions may violate the First Amendment if they are unnecessary for traffic control or public safety, or if they interfere significantly with effective communication with the intended audience. A permit cannot be denied because the event is controversial or will express unpopular views.

Specific Problems

Q. If organizers have not obtained a permit, where can a march take place?
A. If marchers stay on the sidewalks and obey traffic and pedestrian signals, their activity is constitutionally protected even without a permit. Marchers may be required to allow enough space on the sidewalk for normal pedestrian traffic and may not maliciously obstruct or detain passers-by.

Q. May I distribute leaflets and other literature on public sidewalks?
A. Yes. Pedestrians on public sidewalks may be approached with leaflets, newspapers, petitions and solicitations for donations. Tables may also be set up on sidewalks for these purposes if sufficient room is left for pedestrians to pass. These types of free speech activities are legal as long as entrances to buildings are not blocked and passers-by are not physically and maliciously detained. No permits should be required.

Q. Do I have a right to picket on public sidewalks?
A. Yes, and this is also an activity for which a permit is not required. However, picketing must be done in an orderly, non-disruptive fashion so that pedestrians can pass by and entrances to buildings are not blocked. Contrary to the belief of some law enforcement officials, pickets are not required to keep moving but may remain in one place as long as they leave room on the sidewalk for others to pass.

Q. Can the government impose a financial charge on exercising free speech rights?
A. Increasingly, local governments are imposing financial costs as a condition of exercising free speech rights, such as application fees, security deposits for clean-up, or charges to cover overtime police costs. Unfortunately, such charges that cover actual administrative costs or the actual costs of re-routing traffic have been permitted by some courts. However, if the costs are greater because an event is requiring a large insurance policy – then the courts will not permit it. Also, regulations with financial requirements should include a waiver for groups that cannot afford the charge, so that even grassroots organizations can exercise their free speech rights. Therefore, a group without significant financial resources should not be prevented from engaging in a march simply because it cannot afford the charges the City would like to impose.

Q. Can a speaker be silenced for provoking a crowd?
A. Generally, no. Even the most inflammatory speaker cannot be punished for merely arousing the audience. A speaker can be arrested and convicted for incitement only if he or she specifically advocates violence or illegal actions and only if those illegalities are imminently likely to occur.

Q. Do counter-demonstrators have free speech rights?
A. Yes. Although counter-demonstrators should not be allowed to physically disrupt the event they are protesting, they do have the right to be present and to voice their displeasure. Police are permitted to keep two antagonistic groups separated but should allow them to be within the general vicinity of one another.

Q. Is heckling protected by the First Amendment?
A. Although the law is not settled, heckling should be protected, unless hecklers are attempting to physically disrupt an event, or unless they are drowning out the other speakers.

Q. Does it matter if other speech activities have taken place at the same location in the past?
A. Yes. The government cannot discriminate against activists because of the controversial content of their message. Thus, if you can show that similar events to yours have been permitted in the past (such as a Veterans or Memorial Day parade), then that is an indication that the government is involved in selective enforcement if they are not granting you your permit.

Q. What other types of free speech activity are constitutionally protected?
A. The First Amendment covers all forms of communication including music, theaters, film and dance. The Constitution also protects actions that symbolically express a viewpoint. Examples of these symbolic forms of speech include wearing masks and costumes or holding a candlelight vigil.

However, symbolic acts and civil disobedience that involve illegal conduct may be outside the realm of constitutional protections and can sometimes lead to arrest and conviction. Therefore, while sitting in a road may be expressing a political opinion, the act of blocking traffic may lead to criminal punishment.

Q. What should I do if my rights are being violated by a police officer?
A. It rarely does any good to argue with a street patrol officer. Ask to talk to a superior and explain your position to her or him. Point out that you are not disrupting anyone else’s activity and that your actions are protected by the First Amendment.

If you do not obey an officer, you might be arrested and taken from the scene. You should not be convicted if a court concludes that your First Amendment rights have been violated.

Questions? Contact the American Civil Liberties Union.

More Information
..........• See the National Lawyers Guild

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Non-Citizen Rights

Concerned about your rights as a non-citizen? Looking for more information that might help? Two helpful resources are:

..........• The Just Cause Law Collective.
..........• Prefer to speak to a human being? Call Sandhya Banda, an immigration lawyer and Bhopal volunteer, at (408) 393-6353.

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There are plenty of ways you can get the word out about your action or event!

Using the media is only one way of publicizing your event or action, but it can be a very important step. Make sure you use all the resources of your school paper. You can probably use the calendar column, the letter to the editor section, and, if you have a big event, you can perhaps convince the editors to assign a reporter to write a story about it. Make sure to include a contact name and number in the pieces for readers to call for additional information.

Write a media advisory, which simply states the who, what, when, where and why of your event. Be sure to include a contact name and number. After faxing or emailing the advisory to the calendar editor and news desk, follow up with a phone call as it’ll increase the chance that it’s picked up. Find out the paper's deadlines, and get to know the staff writers because they will prove to be a valuable resource for your group in the future.

Likewise, if your group has money, you can also take out an ad in the paper. Most newspapers have advertising staff that can help you put together an appealing advertisement.

Public Service Announcements are another great way to spread the news about the event. These are concise, right-to-the-point announcements that give just the basic who, what, why, where and when information. They should be catchy as to grab the audience's interest and attention. Call your local radio or cable television station, and speak with the public service director about the station's rules on PSA submissions. Generally, they will ask for a minimum of 3 weeks advance submission. (It is wise to call to confirm the receipt of your PSA.) As always, remember to send a thank you note to your contact.

Word of Mouth
Tell your friends, neighbors, family, teachers, and everyone else you know, and ask them to pass on the message.

Posters & Pamphlets
Put up posters and drop off pamphlets around your community, workplaces, community centers and schools.

Text should be clear and concise. Use a contrast of fonts and typestyles (bold, italics, etc.) to draw the eye. Graphics and cartoons are great too, but don’t crowd it too much – you need some white space. Show it to someone clueless and see if they get it. If they don’t, make it simpler.

Poster Tips:
..........• The lettering needs to solid enough to be readable from 10-20 feet away. You might want to black it in with a marker by hand—hand-done posters can be catchier.
..........• Funky colors are a good eye-catcher.
..........• If you do a series of lectures, they need individual posters and don’t make them in the same style—at a glance, people will think they saw them already.
..........• For letter or phone campaigns, you could make a poster cut into strips at the bottom that people can tear off and take home (like a “for rent” poster) giving the phone number or address and what to say.
..........• Make a poster that can be used throughout the semester to advertise your weekly meetings.
..........• Be creative about where you post—insides of bathroom stalls, garbage cans, “alternative” hangouts, etc. Be inclusive too. Don’t ignore an area because you think no one would be interested.
..........• Just handing posters out at a meeting and asking people to put them up doesn’t work very well. Assign people to specific buildings or areas of town, and tell them when it needs to go up. As usual, the more specific the task, the more likely it will get done.
..........• People should carry about extras to replace those torn down.
..........• It is especially important for posters to be up the day of the event (especially for things like rallies), so you might consider doing a second round beforehand.
..........• Be sure to advertise your group as well as your event.
..........• ALWAYS have someone else proofread it.

Leaflets might include any of the following: information on an issue, arguments for your position, suggestions for action, sources, references for further reading, announcement of a rally or event (especially emergency rallies) or information on when and where your group meets.

Leaflet tips:
..........• At a busy time, a person can hand out a couple hundred per hour.
..........• A lot will be thrown away immediately—you might be able to retrieve these and reuse them.
..........• For mass distribution of a simple message, you could use smaller flyers, for instance quarter-sheet or 1/6 size.
..........• Be friendly but aggressive - step forward and hand it to people, saying “here, can I give you one of these?” “important information,” “justice for Bhopal now!” etc. Always smile and look people in the eyes as you’re handing them things.
..........• Have several people there, to catch people moving in all directions. Besides, single leafletters look lonely and insecure, and probably feel that way too.
..........• Don’t spend too much time debating people who have strong opposite opinions. It’s generally a waste of time, though it can alleviate the monotony of leafleting.
..........• Be prepared to shrug off snide comments. Don’t let them dampen your cheerful enthusiasm!

Circulate your event listing by email to people you know, organizations/ groups who would be interested and to any listservs you belong to.

Post your event listing on the web. Many community, organization and government websites have event listings. Do a bit of research beforehand to find suitable places to put up your posting.

Other Events
Attend events and participate in projects related to yours and make an announcement and/or set up an information table.

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The international student campaign to hold Dow accountable for Bhopal, and its other toxic legacies around the world.
For more information about the campaign, or for problems regarding this website, contact
Shana Ortman, the US Coordinator for the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal.
Last updated: April 30, 2008


"The year 2003 was a special year in the history of the campaign for justice in Bhopal. It was the year when student and youth supporters from at least 30 campuses in the US and India took action against Dow Chemical or in support of the demands of the Bhopal survivors. As we enter the 20th year of the unfolding Bhopal disaster, we can, with your support, convey to Dow Chemical that the fight for justice in Bhopal is getting stronger and will continue till justice is done. We look forward to your continued support and good wishes, and hope that our joint struggle will pave the way for a just world free of the abuse of corporate power."

Signed/ Rasheeda Bi, Champa Devi Shukla
Bhopal Gas Affected Women Stationery Employees Union
International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal